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I think it’s OK to get excited about Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom now…

The start of January is normally a bleak time. But this year’s post-Epiphany season was brightened up with the trailer for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom hitting the internets. People got very excited with the first look at the first live action film in five years from one of North American cinema’s most distinctive talents.

I’m a cautious chap and didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. But I think I may have slipped into that dangerous cycle of pre-publicity and excitement… Blame the double whammy of that lovingly painted new poster we’ve included above (complete with oh-so-Anderson yellow script) and the announcement that it will open up the Cannes film festival on May 16th.

The Cannes Film Festival still gives a lot of credence to the idea that film-makers are more than just ordinary men and women and goes to every effort to paint them as auteurs deserving of worship. Once the Cannes crowd goes for your film you are set. This is why men like Terence Malick, Jean Luc Godard and the Dardenne brothers are so revered there and choose to debut most of their new work there.

I was lucky enough to spend a summer in Cannes back in 2005 and the city of 72,000 seems like it exists simply to play host to world cinema’s number one film festival. Unlike Toronto and Venice, the organisers aren’t interested in being the “biggest” or “most popular” festival in the world, they know that, simply put, they play host to the most well-respected fortnight of film anywhere in the world.

If you’re in any doubt as to its clout, last year’s festival saw premieres for Drive, Tree of Life, The Artist, Midnight in Paris, Melancholia, We need to talk about Kevin and The Skin That I Live In. You may see a little bit of crossover with our list of 2011’s top movies

It’s a big deal for Anderson to be given the opening film of the fortnight. Nowadays this is often given to an attention-grabbing studio film like Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood or Pixar’s Up, but regardless of where you stand on that decision the opening slot is a great start to a film’s promotional cycle and guaranteed to grab countless column inches. If they can convince some of the film’s stars like Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton to pose on the Croisette then all the better.

Variety reports that right now it’s unclear whether the film will appear in or out of competition, with the full festival program still being finalised. It runs from May 16th until the 27th.

And because Spooool’s budget doesn’t cover us travelling to Cannes this year, once we’re done reading all the breathless reviews and hearing about the 13-minute standing ovation afforded to skinny Wes, we’ll only have 9 days to wait for general release with the film hitting screens both sides of the pond on May 25th.

Moonrise Kingdom follows two young lovers who run away to live in the woods together. After the disappearance, their respective families go crazy trying to find them. The cast consists of Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman.